OPINION: The disaster that was the presidential debate


Andrea Windburg

President Donald Trump on the left. Former Vice President Joe Biden on the right. (Creative Commons)

Kaitlyn Joyner, Pulse Editor

The first presidential debate between President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden took place at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohi, on Sept. 29.  The moderator, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, introduced the debate with a rare occurrence: the candidates would not be shaking hands. Considering the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this wasn’t a shock. However, it kickstarted the beginning of one of the most bizarre and immature debates in the history of  presidential elections. 

The first topic brought up was one of burning timeliness: the replacement for late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The opponents had their two minutes to speak, and it seemed as if they were both bringing up valid points. This quickly went south when both candidates began to profusely speak over the other. At one point you couldn’t even hear what they were saying; the moderator had to remind them that the audience can’t understand when they speak at the same time. It resembled two toddlers throwing a temper tantrum. 

It seemed as if Wallace was babysitting. I felt bad for the poor moderator; he couldn’t keep the debate organized due to the grown men’s unprofessionalism, which was highly disrespectful of the candidates. There was a profuse amount of name-calling as Trump referred to Biden’s son as a “loser,” and Biden repeatedly called Trump a “clown” while also asking “will you shut up, man?” The candidates were more focused on degrading each other’s reputations and arguing than actually answering any questions. To see two men, one of which will be running the country next year, bickering like children is quite absurd, and if it wasn’t so scary, it would be comical. 

The direct insults to each other were unnecessary and unprofessional. Biden attacked Trump as the “worst president America has ever had,” and Trump attacked Biden for “not knowing what school he went to.” This is simply speculation or opinion and has nothing to do with the presidential duties that should be the focus of this debate, especially in such a crucial election. Our nation is in a state of emergency, and they’re arguing with the moderator who is trying to help them get their ideas to the American people. 

There were many instances where Trump began arguing with the moderator, and the moderator couldn’t even finish asking his question. Additionally, Trump avoided responding to many questions or replied with completely unrelated responses. When asked about COVID-19, the president boasted about how he brought back football, and America should be grateful. I would have thought it was a joke if he didn’t keep a straight face. 

Biden also contradicted his party’s views: he consistently boasted about being the Democratic nominee, but when asked about violent riots, he refused to reach out to Democratic leaders in an attempt to stop them even though he stated he disagreed with violence. He also blatantly refused to answer questions, and his only defense would be to attack Trump or call him a “liar.”   

Aside from constantly speaking over each other and attempting to directly insult the other, the candidates did not even effectively relay their views or plans for the mainstream issues affecting the country right now. Healthcare in the midst of a pandemic, climate change, re-opening the economy: all excellent topics posed by the moderator that were turned into petty arguments. The debate was completely counterproductive and gave undecided Americans no clue as to whom they are voting for; the only thing it showed is that the candidates are two brats. 

Overall, the debate was a complete mess—an utter train wreck. Honestly, it was a waste of 90 minutes. It was essentially a cat fight between two grown men. After watching this debate I am worried for the future of the country. Legally I can’t vote yet; however, I definitely would encourage those who can to do so, but based on this debate this year’s election comes off as a “pick-your-poison” choice. 

The next presidential debate is Oct. 7, and I hope these candidates plan on redeeming themselves.